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Scar on neck qualifies worker for facial disfiguration benefits

Scar on neck qualifies worker for facial disfiguration benefits

A scar on the neck of a truck driver accidentally sprayed with sulfuric acid qualifies him to receive workers compensation facial disfiguration benefits, an Arizona appeals court ruled Tuesday.

The ruling in Bulk Transportation v. The Industrial Commission of Arizona shows that Bulk Transportation and Zurich American Insurance Co. argued that an administrative law judge erroneously awarded facial disfigurement benefits to James Freeman because the claimant sustained a scar on his neck, not his face.

But Arizona's Division 1 Court of Appeals found that Mr. Freeman's neck scar resulting from a 2010 accident was compensable under a statute providing benefits for disfigurements "about the head or face.”

Common dictionary definitions define “about” to mean near, around or in the vicinity, the court said.

“Because the neck is around, near, and in the vicinity of a person's head or face, a permanent disfigurement of the neck is compensable,” the appeals court ruled.